Jonglei Peace Initiative's workshop equips diaspora participants with tools for peace building back home

Category: Diaspora
Published on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 20:26
Written by The New Sudan Vision (NSV),
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada - About 30 participants originally from South Sudan's Jonglei State gathered from May 11 to 13, 2012 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for a trust building workshop. Organized by Jonglei Peace Initiative (JPI) and sponsored and funded by Initiatives of Change Canada and the Calgary Foundation, the workshop equipped the participants with trust building skills and methodologies geared towards helping to solve conflicts between various ethnic communities in Jonglei State. In order to become agents of change, the participants were engaged in "personal change first through reflection" based on Initiatives of Change's mission.

In the future, the JPI will send some of the participants to Jonglei State to conduct grassroots community workshops using the tools and skills learned during the workshop. The workshop brought participants from almost all counties of Jonglei State with most counties being represented by at least three participants. The only county without a participant was Pibor County, which is inhabited by Murle, Jie and Kacipo ethnic groups. So the participants were only from Anyuak, Dinka and Nuer. The organizers of the workshop had a hard time finding people from Pibor County in Canada.

Jonglei State has been the epicenter of ethnic violence in South Sudan in the last several years. It is hoped that such a workshop will contribute to bringing a durable peace among the Jonglei's communities.

In this picture below, the participants watched the rivetting African Answer, a video showing the reconciliation between Kikuyu and Kalenjin Communities of Kenya in the aftermath of the 2008 Kenyan Elections Violence. The participants related alot of issues between the two Kenyan ethnic communities with the Jonglei's ethnic communities. Deeply rooted historical ethnic hatred fueled by rivalry over resources and politics were identified as some of the similarities.

watching the african answer

It was time for small group discussions as shown here:

group discussion 4

group duiscussion 1

group discussion 2

group discussion 3

As performed in the African Answer, participants were separated into Nuer and Dinka groups (as shown in this picture below), and each group was asked to write both positive and negative common stereotypes they  think about each other. Although it was a mere exercise, it was an eye opener as the participants were able to express candidly some of the common stereotypes which make both ethnic communities hate each other. Taking time for personal reflection, candid communication and willingness to talk are important parts of trustbuilding. It is hoped that this exercise will be performed in real time in Jonglei State in the future as a way of demystifying and dispelling the common negative and positive stereotypes among the ethnic communities in Jonglei State.

nuer and the dinka

As part of trust building mechanism, the participants performed several exercises related to specific tasks that require specific skills and personality types as shown in these pictures below. After describing a problem, the participants were asked by the facilitator to join one of the four personality types they think can solve the said problem. Each personality type had a stength and a weakness. This exemplifies individual's or community's strengths or weaknesses. This means, in other words, that communities or individuals must choose to work together to reinforce each other's strength or to bridge the gap of weakness.


(The above picture shows the smart and dodgy personality type)

Honorable and dim

Close and flaky

dependable and dull

In the end, the participants held hands up in solidarity for peace in Jonglei State


And finally it was time for a group picture

group photo